As a smoker you could be costing your employer around £1.4 billion per year in sickness absence. According to reports, smokers take an average of 2.7 more days off sick than non-smokers, and are 33% more likely to miss work.
Further to the above, smokers are also more likely to lose productivity as a result of taking smoking breaks, whereas non-smokers do not have the same excuse to vacate the premises on a regular basis.
Smoking breaks are a common topic of contention in the workplace, both for non-smokers and employers. It seems that the number of excuses to leave your workstation are few fewer, which, as a non-smoker, is considered unfair.
On the other hand workplace breaks have been found to increase productivity, relieve stress and strengthen bonds between co-workers.
So how does a manager justify the number of breaks a smoker takes to a non-smoker?
Being a smoker in the workplace
If you are a smoker who works in an office environment, you will undoubtedly wish to take smoking breaks throughout a given day.
Every workplace is different and it is therefore essential that you obtain a copy of your company’s smoking policy before assuming that it’s okay to take a ten minute smoke break every hour. If there is no written policy on the matter, request one from the HR department. Otherwise, ask to be informed in writing about the circumstances surrounding smoking breaks.
Never break the rules regarding smoking breaks. Some companies request that a worker makes up their lost hours from smoking, whilst others stipulate that an employee can take up to two ten minute smoking breaks in a working day. Whatever your company’s policy is, be sure to stick to it.
Many companies across the globe are taking various measures to help employees quit smoking. For example American multinational retailer, Wal-Mart, has recently introduced a program called the Personal Sustainability Project, which sees the company teaching its employees the benefits of quitting smoking.
Another US-based company recently imposed a complete ban on smoking, even away from the workplace. The purpose of the ban was to reduce smoke-related health costs, though a number of employees quit their jobs as a result.
Smoking and the workplace is becoming a serious point of concern for managers and therefore a number of measures are being implemented to reduce the impact of smokers on the workplace.